April 15, 2021

It’s All About Perspective with Del Leonard Jones, Pulitzer Prize Nominated Author and Referee

It’s All About Perspective with Del Leonard Jones, Pulitzer Prize Nominated Author and Referee

In Episode 25, Del Leonard Jones, Referee/umpire in multiple sports, Author of three books, including At the Bat: The Strikeout That Shamed America and Advice from the Top, and former USA Today Business Journalist (nominated for Pulitzer Prize), talks...

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In Episode 25, Del Leonard Jones, Referee/umpire in multiple sports, Author of three books, including At the Bat: The Strikeout That Shamed America and Advice from the Top, and former USA Today Business Journalist (nominated for Pulitzer Prize), talks with Phil about angle and perspective in refereeing and life, issues with VAR and instant replay, avoiding compounding mistakes, the law vs application of the law, respecting authority, and the #1 complaint referees get. Specifically, Del discusses:

  • His story and how he developed his passion for sports, refereeing, writing, and leadership (2:26)
  • The importance of knowing one’s angle and perspective in refereeing, and what it has to do with life outside of sports (12:14)
  • The pros and cons of instant replay and VAR, whether we should get rid of it, and what life lessons we are missing because of its implementation (16:34)
  • Make-up calls and compounding mistakes, and what life lessons we can learn from them (20:44)
  • Power trips and referees making it about them, and what that can teach us about leadership outside the pitch (24:27)
  • The law vs. application of the law, subjectivity in refereeing, and how it plays out in our life and leadership outside the game (28:30)
  • The #1 complaint referees get, and what it has to do with other areas of our lives (31:37)
  • Why we ought to respect officials, how we can properly do so, and how it relates to our lives and leadership off the pitch (40:36)
  • Some great quotes from CEOs and other leaders in his book, Advice from the Top, and how they can help us in our life and leadership (47:58) (Below are some quotes from the book)
  • How Del has used the lessons learned through sports in his life and leadership off the pitch (55:39)

Selected Quotes from Advice from the Top

  • Joe Moglia, Former TD Ameritrade CEO and Head Football Coach of Coastal Carolina University (from the Foreword
    • “Just before Super Bowl XXXIX, I gave an interview to Del about the football lessons that apply to business. Here are a few X’s and O’s from my interview with Del:
      • Be sure your people are playing in the right positions.
      • Know the odds of success and the consequence of failure when taking a risk.
      • Ingenious game plans fail if no one is blocking and tackling.
      • Success requires spiritual soundness, dedication, courage and love. Love is the willingness to sacrifice for the team. It doesn't matter how many points you score if the team loses.
    • "In football and business there are star performers. Convince the stars that the only way to succeed is to reach team goals."
    • "The star quarterback won't be effective if he's on the ground due to lousy protection. In business, if your star running back doesn't recognize the importance of his blockers, you need another back."
    • "You can have good athletes playing the wrong position. Move underperforming employees to where they can be successful."
  • Larry Brown, NBA and Dream Team Coach
    • “If your best player has great character, the chances of succeeding are incredible. If your best player is not of good character, then you have a problem.”
  • Mike Eruzione, Captain of the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team on beating impossible odds
    • "Game winners aren’t luck. They’re practice and preparation unless the shot bounces off somebody's head and goes in."
    • "Miracles are one part luck, nine parts hard work."
    • "If you believe you're going to lose, you probably will."
  • Ronnie Lott, NFL Hall of Famer with the 49ers
    • “It’s like players who invest time looking at film. Reflect on things you want to achieve each day.”
  • Dan Lyons, Olympic Rower
    • "The best team members feed off each other. They are a little quirky and odd. Bland groups, no matter how strong and powerful, underperform. That's the strength of diversity. It's not just racial or ethnic or gender diversity, it's diversity of spirit, of seeing life and the world."
  • Wynton Marsalis, Trumpeter, composer, bandleader on the leadership lessons of jazz
    • "When people trust each other they work for the common good. They are in sync and prepared for anything."
  • Steve Young, Former 49er QB
    • “Perfect information is never available. Gut instinct is crucial. Play a little blind, throw the ball trusting the receiver will be there. Take advantage of a glimpse, a piece of information.”

Resources and Links from this Episode


Phil:[00:00:00] Welcome back to How Soccer Explains Leadership. Thanks a lot for your download. Once again, we have a great show for you today. We have Del Leonard Jones. his newest book. His latest book is called At the Bat: The Strikeout That Shamed America. If you remember Casey at the Bat and Mudville and all that good stuff, that's what it's about.

It's actually a fictional story that goes far beyond the poem, but it's really, it's actually a really cool read. We're gonna be talking about that a little bit today, but most of what we're going to be covering is just really about he's also a referee he's got all kinds of writing experience in his life.

Nominated for a Pulitzer prize. He's got over 300 cover stories for USA Today. Whole lot more there, but most of what we're going to be talking about today is the side of his life. That is a referee. So don't hate on him already, please, please. Don't you know, just wait for him to be able to.

Share really the lessons that he's learned that we can learn from not just in the game, but in our leadership. And he also wrote a book called Advice from the Top that comes from all of his interviews with CEOs over the years. So you're in for a treat today. This, this interview I'm really excited to do, but before we get there, I just want to remind you that we have a Facebook group. If you're not a part of it, go ahead and join it. Just go to Facebook. And there'll be a couple questions for you to answer there. once you do that, we'll go ahead and let you in, hopefully you won't say anything that makes us not want to let you in.

We haven't done that yet. And so hopefully you're not the first, but assuming that you, actually want to be a part of the group, we'll let you in. And the last thing is, if you haven't done so already go ahead and rate and review the show. It helps it, get it, get us out there to more and more people.

So without more on that right now, we're gonna go ahead and introduce you to Del Leonard Jones, Dell, how you doing?

Del:[00:01:47] Good Phil, how are you doing?

Phil:[00:01:48] Very well, doing very well today and I'm even better cause we're having this conversation. And so, I gave you a little introduction.

I mean, you heard it, it's what people talk about you, presumably when they're introducing you, [00:02:00] but that only tells us so much about you. I know there's a whole lot more to Dell Jones and, and so I'd really like just you for, to be able to share your story just a bit a brief, brief story particularly how you developed your passion for sports and leadership and just a little glimpse into your writing career as well.

Del:[00:02:16] First off, I want to make it clear that I'm not a soccer official soccer referee, so they don't have to hate on me too much.

Phil:[00:02:22] That's right. I forgot about that. I forgot about that. So we'll get into all the sports you do. And we had you on because you know, a lot of it's referee and the referee in, but we'll get to that here in a little bit.

Del:[00:02:32] Yeah, I do. I do three sports and they transfer very well. I mean, once you've done one sport as an official, you basically need to learn the new rule book and a lot of subtleties, but dealing with coaches and players and all that, that's all transferable. And I'm sure a lot of your listeners are multi-sport players.

And they realize that skills that they pick up in one sport are readily transferred into another sport. And it's almost, I think a lot of people are in favor [00:03:00] of a multi sports I was with, with my kids. I, I saw that as they played, and then there were other kids that specialized in a sport at a young age, and I saw them advancing no faster than the ones that played multi-sport.

So the same thing I have the same philosophy with officiating that if I see a good official doing one sport and they're good at it, they're gonna, they're going to get recruited by, other sports because that's what they're looking for is somebody that's, just good.

Naturally good at that. I was never, I was never much of an athlete growing up. My kids were really good athletes. I was small and I had a lot of upper body strength than I wound up on two state championship gymnastics teams. But as far as other sports and especially soccer, I was too old to play much organized soccer, but I did.

My soccer experience is when I was at work. There was a group of people that at lunchtime went out and played pickup soccer.  and the skill level on the field was everywhere from me who didn't have any idea what they're doing on up through a man who happened to be the gardener [00:04:00] at USA Today. His job was taking care of the yard and he was, I mean, he was three times better than anybody out there.

And he would show up on the field. The first time he showed up, he was in work boots and I go, guys, he's gonna like kick the crud out of me. It's going to hurt like, hell. But he was so skilled. He never touched me. I think I kicked him a lot more than he ever kicked me. He was probably wearing his work boots to protect him from me.

Right. So that's my soccer experience. but what I learned from that is a sports in general is just such a great place to get to know people after I'd played like a year or two of pickup soccer. these guys were my better friends and the people that I sat with. At work on the desk, you know, I'd be, I developed better friendships from going out there an hour a day and playing pickup soccer.

And you'd see him in the hall that people that I wouldn't even know their names if I hadn't played. So I just think sports, any kind of sports is just great for relationships and leadership in the workplace and that kind of thing.

Phil:[00:04:56] I totally agree with all that. I love that you corrected my [00:05:00] introduction and not corrected, but clarified because I meant to say that at the beginning and something that is important.

And I've talked about that in our past episodes that I don't know if you've been able to listen to any Dell, but, but the past episodes is I've talked about the,  to have diversity of experience in the different sports. I totally agree with that. We learn from these other disciplines we learned from other sports we learned from other things, and that's really the point of this show is to take what we're learning in soccer and apply it to other areas of life.

And so I love the fact that we're now able to learn from other sports today. But again, it's mostly the referee side of things, but be able to take that and apply it. And that's really what I'm hoping we can start doing more and more of with the audience is to be able to help. Understand these connections so that we continue making these connections.

You know, my brain kind of works that way. I understand not everyone's wired the same way that I am, but I think it helps us as we are learning new things that if we can use things that we've learned in other areas of our life, we can really take shortcuts to help us [00:06:00] get to where we need to be. So with that, you know, I know you didn't really get into it very much there, but can you just give like a quick blurb, just so people know how to find the different books that you've written and more about you, if they want to learn more about you after this interview?

Del:[00:06:13] Oh, sure. Yeah. My, my first book is a non-fiction book and it comes from my USA Today days on a business section. I was a reporter in the money section and my beat was corporate leadership. And I did stories. I actually got nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting at USA Today because my job was to try to get decision makers into the newspaper because they're the ones who make decisions on advertising and that kind of thing.

And yet, I didn't want to write things that only appealed to, you know, CEOs and executives. I wanted kind of the general reader to read them. So I developed this knack of trying to come up with ideas. Like I wrote a story on CEOs who cheated golf. [00:07:00] And you know, that's something I'm sure the CEOs themselves would want to read that story, but I think everybody on down the line was interested in that.

And the interesting thing was I would ask a CEO, do you cheat at golf? And I didn't find one who said they did, but then my follow-up question is, have you ever played with a CEO who cheated at golf and that they would just start nodding? Oh yeah. All the time. You know, in fact they tell character, they take, they would often take people.

They were interviewing for hires either out on the golf course or if they were tennis players out on the tennis court and they would learn a lot of their character by how they responded you know, if they were kicking their ball out of the weeds on the golf course. And then I did another story, like CEO's who were spanked as children and that kind of thing.

And those are the kinds of stories that that got me, the Pulitzer prize nomination. And I actually started out as a sportswriter at small papers. But I had an interest in business and the rule of thumb is it's like, they always say that the [00:08:00] fastest way to the major leagues in baseball is to be a catcher, the fastest way to a major publication, at least back then was being a business reporter.

So I got my MBA and went into business writing and was able to most reporters is kind of just a gradual process up the ladder at larger newspapers and that kind of thing. And so I leaped all the way from the El Paso times and Texas, which is you know, it's a city of probably 600,000.

But there were a lot of other steps between there and USA today and the wall street journal, I think with the largest circulation newspapers at the time. and so that was my, in my first book was Advice from the Top and it was basically boiling down into tips. All my interviews with CEOs.

And then when I retired from journalism, I wanted to write historical fiction because I didn't want to interview another person again. So I wrote I went back far enough where nobody else was alive and I just did all my research by reading and my father he memorized poetry and that was it was common back in his day that people memorize poetry.

And [00:09:00] he had the Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service memorized. And so I wrote a novel set in 1898, the Alaska gold rush, Yukon gold rush based on that poem. And then the next one it was just an obvious choice, a very famous poem, just like it was Casey at the bat. And so I did At the Bat: The Strikeout that Shamed America, and it's based on the Casey At the Bat poem, which was written in 1888.

And so the novel is set in that kind of the dawn of professional baseball kind of thing. And I wrote it from the point of view of an umpire, because even though I'm an umpire now I think there was, in fact, everything I read about umpires that back then they basically had the same thing. I read a lot of articles in the papers from back then.

And half of them were basically blaming the umpire for a loss, you know, probably even worse than today. I don't think they, they criticize officiating now as much as they did back then.

Phil:[00:09:55] Yeah, that's funny. Well, I think, you know, a lot of it too is today, and we'll talk [00:10:00] about this in a little bit.

We have instant replays and we have other things that either show that it was obviously bad or most of the time they're probably getting it right. And you see their angle and you see their perspective. And we're going to talk about all these things in a few minutes, but it's I, I loved the book. It's just a fun book.

If you're a baseball fan, even if you're not a baseball fan, it does. I love the different perspectives. And it kind of gets in you in the head of the, of the umpire a lot more than you normally would as well as the catcher and the pitcher and the different perspectives that are, that are there. And then obviously Casey as well.

But again, that's not what this conversation's about today. You can go listen to other interviews with Dell that he's done on ESPN radio and some other outlets out there that you can, you can hear that. But for today I do want to transition now into really this conversation about principles and lessons you've learned as a referee.

I think you're a field hockey referee, a basketball referee and a softball umpire, if I'm not mistaken. Is that right? That's correct. Yeah. All right. So we're gonna we're just going to jump into these, these principles really, and I'm just going to, it's going to be kind of a [00:11:00] fun, different interview that a different than we normally do on this, on the show, but it's going to be really just going.

From your principal, the principal, and just talking about not only what that looks like in the game, but what did it, how it really applies to life and how it translates to the world outside of sport, which is what we obviously love doing on this show. But in these instances, I think they all really do have real life implications that are pretty obvious.

And so we are going to start one, I'm going to bridge it and segue a little bit by starting with one that your book at the bat actually talked a little bit about. It was a conversation between the umpire and the judge, the judge in the book. it was really before the game, the big game where Casey struck out.

And one of the things said in the book, I can't actually remember who said it, but it said you can't call an out, you don't see. Right. So this idea of perspective and angle this idea of, you know, how you see something makes all the difference in the world. And so can you just kind of talk about that a bit and just what that looks like from the perspective of the, [00:12:00] the umpire or the referee and what that's got to do with our lives as well?

Del:[00:12:04] Yeah. Yeah. This is one of my favorite topics. I'm glad we're talking about officiating because I had that. I'd rather talk about that than the book, but angle is, I actually wrote an article for Referee Magazine on angle and anybody who's been an official for very long realizes that angle is more important than how close you are to a call.

And, and it's easy for even non-sports people to understand the concept because everybody's kind of watched the NFL football game where, you know, there'll be doing the instant replay and they don't know if the player's knee was down before he fumbled the ball or whether they fumbled the ball before the knee was down.

That kind of thing. And they'll show they'll have at like a televised NFL game. They'll have like four camera angles on the play and you'll see two or three angles and you'll see, you'll see a one-way. Until all of a sudden they show the angle that is actually the right angle, the best angle.

And all of a sudden it just [00:13:00] clarifies it. Now, everybody is certain, you know what happened, whereas these other angles didn't another example, I went saw a video of President George W. Bush, who was shaking hands w in a crowd. and there was one camera angle, and if you saw that you would swear that somebody stole his wristwatch, he was shaking hands.

He had a wristwatch on, and then all of a sudden the wristwatch was gone off of his arm. And you would just swear there was a thief out there that stole the president's wristwatch. but then there was another angle of the same thing, and you could see him pulling off his watch and handing it back to the secret service agent, you know?

And, but you couldn't see that in the first one. Yeah. And so that's why it's so important in officiating. And to me, it's just, it's so important in life too, because every, every problem, every thing that comes up you can't be a hundred percent sure you got it, right. Unless you've seen it from all angles, from as many angles as you can.

In fact, I think [00:14:00] Mark Twain had a famous quote that says it's not what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what, you know, for sure. That just ain't true. And that, and that is so, there's so many times, I make a lot of bad calls on the field and it's usually if I do have a bad angle and if I'm getting a lot of grief from fan or a coach or something, I'll look and see his angle.

And if he had a better angle than I did on what I was calling, I'm almost sure that he probably is right. Whereas if, I look and I had the better angle, then I don't feel as bad about the call because I had this appear, you know, and you don't get a hundred percent of the calls, right?

If you have the superior angle, there's other ways you can mess up the call. But that, is the one thing that is just so crucial.

Phil:[00:14:47] Yeah. You know, and it's something it's funny because I've been thinking about this. And even as I was preparing for this interview I'm wondering, and I want to get back to a couple other things, but I'm really thinking about this right now.

Cause it's, it's absolutely relevant to this with now [00:15:00] with this world of instant replay in soccer. It's the VAR, the virtual assistant, basically, where if there's a close call in the penalty area or an offsides or something like that, you know, it goes to the review box, right? And so the review guy looks at it now he's got not only a different perspective because he's got the video, but he referees differently.

Presumably because just every referee has their view of these subjective calls and take that to the real world. And we don't have the benefit of that. Right? We have the, we, we have human error. As you said, we have different perspectives. We have different personalities. We have different ways. We see the world.

We have a different view. As you know, as a reporter, you take the same event, you have six people report on it. You're going to have six different stories. Some people will go. Were they even at the same event, because it sounds so different. Right. And so what do you think of that as far as do you think that the whole instant replay VAR, I mean, it does, do you think it actually impacts us in the real world that we don't have this [00:16:00] benefit, but you know, in the, in this, in this game, it's not really teaching us the life lessons.

It could because we're referees make mistakes and you just have to live with them. And the life lesson there is obviously, well that's life, right. But with this instant replay, do you think that it's actually affecting us in, in our actual lives, in a world where we don't have that luxury of the instant replay?

Del:[00:16:24] Well, I've never thought about that. It would be kind of interesting to have an instant replay on your life and every decision. I mean, I think everybody kind of looks back on things and regrets them. But don't have the benefit of an instant replay. Boy, it would be, I think w I don't think it changes our lives now, but if there was that availability, I know it would because, you know, every, every, every sport, you know, there's, there's mistakes made.

The only pro I think there would be replay for everything. If it didn't slow down the game, that's the whole trouble I think baseball strike zone is headed for a machine. I mean, if the machine is [00:17:00] accurate, that they show on baseball games, you might as well have the machine call it cause it's a consistent and it's right down the middle.

So I think, I think it's just, I think they're already testing machines for plate umpires, and I think there's just a matter of time for that. Where we're, it doesn't work in sports is where it slows down the game. And I also think that coaches shouldn't have the benefit when they protest a call, they should have to protest it live real time.

Right. I mean, if, if there's something in, in soccer that, or, or on football where they want to throw the flag or something to instant replay, they need to do that before they see the replay. And my guess is that they would get that it would make the officials look a lot better because they're only having the benefit of the replay before they call it.

Phil:[00:17:43] Yeah, because again, I think part of the beauty of sports is that human error, I mean, A lot of goals in soccer are caused because of an error. A lot of football plays, there's an error, a cornerback slips or whatever, a baseball you have literally [00:18:00] have errors, right. That we actually, keep track of you know, I don't know a lot about field hockey, but I imagine there's errors just like soccer, where that's a lot of goals are scored there.

So basketball, again, things where you have that human error. And I think in the referee side of things too, you have the human error and that makes for an uncertainty that you have to wow. For. So as a player, you have to allow for that right now, a lot of times because of instant replay, they'll stop because they know that well, you know, I don't have to, well, we don't have the luxury of that. So are we, again, I think that that's something that's just an interesting thought I had, but going back to the perspective with the angle of the play. it is something to that I think there with, with our lives, we have the fact that when we see something different, from somebody else.

It often causes a lot of conflict and we see that in the game too. Where, as you said, usually when there's a big, huge, you know, the coach gets super upset. We know that a lot of times it is the angle and even just the [00:19:00] perspective or the angle. So in soccer with the offsides rule, folks listening, you, you know this where if the linesman, the assistant referee is just a little off and their angle is coming back at the play, their line could be very different and wrong, quite frankly, but that's their angle and that's their line.

What the referee sees goes, right? Yeah.

Del:[00:19:19] And I think, I think that's a life lesson. I think a lesson in, in anything in life is that you have to basically concentrate on what you can control. I used to say that officiating was like having the sun in your eyes.

If the sun's in your eyes, you adapt to it. If they give you have a bad,  not just an official, that makes a bad call, but if you have one day, you walk out there and you just have a bad official, you can whine and stomp up and down and do this and that, but it's basically something that is no longer in your control.

and the focus of life and sports, I think is basically worrying about things that are in your control.

Phil:[00:19:55] Absolutely. And I think on that note that you talked about referee magazine earlier that you'd written an article there. [00:20:00] I read another article in preparation for this from Referee Magazine. It was an anonymous article.

But it was "Five Lessons on Leadership: What One CEO Learned as a Referee," you may have actually written that since it was, no, I

Del:[00:20:10] didn't. Except for that sounds like a great story.

Phil:[00:20:11] Yeah, it was. Yeah, it's very good. But one of them was handling your mistakes quickly, the idea is don't compound your mistake with a make-up call later.

So I think you kind of alluded to this scenario, let's go back to that scenario where you had an angle that was different from the coach and the coach is yelling at you and, and whatever, you could just quickly go and say, Hey, you know what? I probably had a different perspective than you and I may have been wrong.

When you, when

Del:[00:20:34] referee say that and that, and that's what I say. I never, I never tell a coach told me if a coach tells me I made a bad call and I want to explain it to him. I never tell him that he is wrong. I tell him what I saw, right? Like I don't do soccer, but say in basketball, there's a dispute of whether it was a charge or a block on a basketball play.

I don't in the coach is saying that was a block. That was a block. And you call the charge. And I don't say that, no, you're [00:21:00] wrong, coach. I say, coach, this is what I saw. I saw the defender get position. just read, basically read back the rule and that kind of, you really can't argue, you can argue back and forth of whether you've got it right, but if you say this is what I saw, how can they argue differently?

You know? Well, that's what he saw. That's right. You know, they can still think you're you got the call wrong. And it was a bad call. But, you know, it kind of like shuts things up a little bit and it doesn't belittle them either. It doesn't say go back saying that, you know, you're blind, no, you're blind.

It's like, basically this is what I saw. And that's worked well for me.

Phil:[00:21:38] Yeah. And I think that too goes again to life. I think that idea of going when somebody yells at you or whatever and say, Hey, from my perspective, this is how I saw it. This is how I came to the conclusion I came to.

I think a lot of conflict would be handled a lot better if we actually understood, you know, the old Covey principle and is seek to understand before you seek to be understood. And so I think that you're [00:22:00] able to share that with them to say, look, I understand where you're coming from now. If I can help you to understand where I'm coming from, that will hopefully go a lot longer or a lot further.

Now the other side of it though, is what you see. Unfortunately, more often than you'd like to is the make-up call. Right. Like you see, and whether it's subconscious or consciously some referees, cause they want to be liked or whatever it may be. I think that that's something in even that appearance, right?

That, that perception is reality. But you know, that's just something that I think happens more often than it should is where, and again, going into life, like that's not something you want to do as well. Any thoughts on that?

Del:[00:22:40] Yeah, I think it's a sign of an inexperienced official because it doesn't take long to realize that you don't get anybody to like you with a makeup call.

All you do is reinforce everybody's opinion that you missed this call. And now you miss this call. Your bad.  I think that happens with inexperienced officials more [00:23:00] than experienced officials, because it doesn't take long to learn that that doesn't work. And if an official makes a mistake out there, next thing they want to do is to get the next call, right?

Whether it doesn't matter who it is for who it's against and to forget, and to move on. It's just like a, it's just like an athlete, a soccer player who makes a mistake out there. The last thing you want that player is to be thinking about how we screwed up the last play, because the game has now moved on and now we need your head in the game for this.

you'll let that go. And you want the same thing out of your officials. You want them to acknowledge, there's plenty of time after the game. To do a post-mortem on what you could have done better, but in the game, that's the last thing you want to do. You don't want to be thinking about boy, I like really blew this call because now something's happening in front of you.

And you're going to miss that

Phil:[00:23:51] too. Yeah. Well, let's, let's move on to another, another principle, the idea of, the authority figure, sometimes referees, unfortunately think that it's about [00:24:00] them. They make it about them. And it's kind of a power trip sometimes, you know, and that really can ruin a game.

It often does if that's the mentality can you just talk a little bit about that and how you counter that first of all, and what that can teach us about actual, leadership outside the pitch as well, or outside the field or outside of the game?

Del:[00:24:17] Yeah, that's a tough one.

I imagine even the nicest officials have been accused of having power trips. But I would agree there's some that, have them more than others. I think everybody has to realize that to start off with, it's a very professional relationship when official walks out there.

They shouldn't be friends with anybody. I mean, it just looks bad if before the game, they're like slapping backs with one coach over here. And the other coach is looking at him you know, what is going on that they're like, it looks like best friends, the official may go out there and call a very fair game, but it just looks bad.

I think to start with that the official has to be friendly and cordial. But they can't come off as anybody's friend. They can't be seen after the game having a beer [00:25:00] with a coach or that kind of thing, especially, you know, the, the higher, the level, I think that's more and more true.

I just don't think that happens.  One thing I wanted to point out is with really young officials,  it takes a long time to be a good official, just like it does to be a good athlete.

And if you want an official to have years of experience, you don't want to shame or belittle a really young official, because in any sport, soccer may be average younger just because they have to run a lot. But any sport, the average age of officials is way older than it should be because young officials come in and, and they have they have first off, they have a power imbalance.

So if a coach that's 30 years older than them is giving them a hard time. All of a sudden, they're taught not to talk back to elders and that kind of thing. if it's an adult official, you can be a little harder on them because now it's an adult to an adult relationship.

But if you have a young official, you really have to cut them Slack. [00:26:00] And the second thing is if you have an adult official and, he makes a bad call, what you really want to be looking for is that official. working hard to do his job? You know, you can let that bad call go.

If he looks like he's hustling out there considers the game important and is doing his job. If he just looks like he's lazy. He's like missing calls because he's a lazy and really doesn't want to be there. You know, that's an entirely different situation, but  I think if you have a good official out there and you have a sense that you have a good official you know, I think their relationship is better if you let that go.

Although if you have a good official, they're also better at handling criticism, it's not gonna ruin their day. Like it does the beginning official or the really young official.

Phil:[00:26:41] Yeah, for sure. That's something that you see a lot of, and they say that really the amount of first or second year officials that quit because of the criticism, because of everything, especially in the youth, I know my kids, they referee a year or two and they were done and it's a shame.

Del:[00:26:56] It really is. It’s the same thing I wish I had. I wish I hadn't pushed him in. It's like really good [00:27:00] money for a kid. But I wish I'd held them off because I just ruined officiating for them. Just because they started too young.

Phil:[00:27:07] Yeah. And so fully it's something that we can get, better and improve upon as far as coaches, to be able to encourage the referees, especially the young ones and, for other referees to encourage them rather than, nitpicking every little thing, but to hopefully find the good things and be able to, you know, again, that's good apprenticeship, that's good mentorship.

As far as the leader side of things, to be able to find the good and celebrate the good help with the things that they can improve upon. But if you couch it in the, my, as my sister-in-law says, the teacher sandwich where you, you know, you have the positive and then the criticism, and then the positive on the other side as well.

I think that goes a lot, a lot better. And it goes a lot longer and further in that. Well, one of the other things that I know we talked about before, and you've, alluded to earlier in the conversation is the idea of, you have the law. And the letter of the law, but at the end of the day, a lot of the laws of the game, whatever game it [00:28:00] is are subjective.

You know, you call it a trip, right? Well, at what level is it actually a trip in that particular referee's mind? And so you have that idea of the letter of the law versus the application of the law. And have you seen that play out in your own refereeing and as you've watched different sports?

Del:[00:28:20] Yeah, field hockey, I think is a lot like soccer field hockey has like very simple rules. I mean, the rule book is thin and it's really easy to learn the rules, but the actual judgment doing the judgment of those rules is harder. softball is just the opposite. It's got all these rules that happen, like once in a lifetime, like a base runner passes, another base runner, you know, a, an umpire can go a whole career and that'll never happen.

And yet if it happens, you got to know the rule. Whereas, and I think probably soccer is the same way. The rules are simple, but the judgment is really difficult. And what I like to do is, especially if I'm, I'm going into game this probably going to be very [00:29:00] competitive and a little bit rough, I actually try, you know, a lot of, a lot of officials wait after things get like really rough before they start coming out with the cards and tightening up on their officiating.

I like to come out when I know the game's going to be like that to be tight with my officiating early on, and then everybody kind of understands, what's going to be called, it's going to be called tight. And now they're going to try to play. the way this official is calling the game.

And then all of a sudden the game cleans up and now I can loosen up a little bit, you know, the fouls are fewer, you don't have to worry about it getting out of control, somebody getting hurt because now everybody's kind of like backing off and playing, a little less rough.

And so I think it helps from an officiating standpoint is to kind of the law you say to kind of lay it down early. I mean, if you don't lay it down early, if you start off Slack, then at the end of the game, you're going to be pulling out red cards all the time, because everything's out of hand now and now you've got to really bring out the law because people [00:30:00] are going to get hurt.

And so the law's a lot stiffer at that point, whereas you can be a little easier on the law, but you start off stricter.

Phil:[00:30:07] Yeah, absolutely. and I think too there, one of the things that I always talk about with any of my players with the referees, whatever, if I'm refereeing, the key is consistency, right?

When you have a way that you're applying the law to be consistent. And I think in, in the real world, outside of sport, I say the real world, obviously sport is real world too, but the real world outside of the game judges, if judges just. Willy nilly decided they were going to apply the law differently one day than the other.

That we'd have no idea what the laws were about. That's right. All judges were all over the map. We'd have no idea what, what the law was about. I was a clerk for a judge for a year, and it was a great, phenomenal job, but you have to be consistent when you're applying the law to the different things and the same way in sport.

I think anything, if you have a referee, who's letting things go, then let things go. What gets frustrating is where they call a nudge in the [00:31:00] back of foul in one for one team, and then they don't seem to see it when the other team does it. Right. Those are the things that really get frustrating. And so, have you seen that?

I assume it's similar. I mean, it's strike zone is another way, right? So a strike zone, if you're calling the corners and sending a couple inches or an inch off the corner, well, that's not necessarily the letter of the law, but that's how you call it. If you call it for every batter. Then a lot of people don't have a lot to complain about.

And you see that, is that, is that something that you agree with?

Del:[00:31:27] Yeah, it's a consistency is the number one complaint officials get, everybody sees the inconsistency. And so that's the number one thing that everybody wants. And then once, you know, the consistency that you can, you can adjust.

I was doing a softball game one time, and my, I was on the bases and my plate umpire was calling strikes at the ankles. I mean, these were like really low pitches that he was calling strikes and every, everybody could see it. I could see it. And the first base coach was looking at me.

One of the first base coaches for one team was looking at me like, you know, this, this is nuts. This guy's [00:32:00] calling strikes at the ankles. Whereas the coach of the other team didn't say a word to me. They just had their pitcher throw what the ankles. I mean, the umpire, the umpire was being consistent. And I think that was the second coach.

Didn't have a problem with that. As long as you know, that the ankles on both teams, I'm going to have my pitcher throw at the ankles. Whereas the other one was, the thing I was saying about the sun was in his eyes, get rid of the sun, get rid of it, sun kind of a thing. So, you know, consistency is the number.

And, and I would agree that that is like really important, except for that one thing that I spoke about earlier is kind of like being a little stricter at the beginning of what you know is going to be a hotly contested. It could be, could get rough kind of game. You know, I'm going to be consistent in the time period I'm in, but I'm going to be consistent calling it both ways, a little tighter at the beginning because now my game's going to go a lot smoother.

All the way to the end. Then if I like open up say, I'm going to let these people, I'm going to let you know, a lot of officials, like that's their philosophy, let [00:33:00] them play, let them play kind of thing. And that I don't meet that doesn't work because you can only let them play for so long before you got to do something.

Phil:[00:33:08] Absolutely. And I think that there's so much there that I would love to mine if we had a couple of days. But I think the couple things there that really stick out to me are the consistency. I mean, you think about, as a parent of five, my kids are continually letting me know how I'm not consistent.

there is a sense in parenting where it's a little different in that I'm going to know each of them and I'm going to treat them differently based on their personalities, but consistency in the rules. But it might be application a little different with each kid, but when it comes to the sport, you don't have that luxury to really know everybody and to be able to, and that's not really the way that sports work, but what you have though, there is that adaptation though to that.

That umpire to that referee. And I see that all the time in soccer, where as a coach, I see a referee is again, letting him play. [00:34:00] So our players, you know, if we've had, if we have a team that typically isn't a rougher team, so to speak they come off at halftime and they're super frustrated and they're mad and they're like, everyone's I go?

Is he calling you? Is he calling it on you? Or is she calling it on you? And they say, well, no. And I said, well, then play tougher. Right? You got to, you know, bump them a little bit more, go in harder. Like you gotta, you gotta adjust to it and not to change your game and not to be cheap, but you gotta play that game if they're allowing it.

It, yeah, it does get frustrating if it's not your style, especially.

Del:[00:34:32] Yeah. And that, and that's where the it's up to the official, not to let that happen because that's when somebody's going to get hurt, you know? Yeah. That's right. Knee surgeons kind of probably live off officials that allow that to go on.

The example I and field hockey. They have a rule in field hockey where when they start the ball, everybody has to be five yards away. And of course at higher levels, they're going to start testing the official and they're going to start four yards away. And then if the official doesn't like, do anything about it, they're going [00:35:00] to move into three yards away.

And pretty soon you're noting the games out of hand. So it's gotta be like early on you. The official has to know what five yards are, what I'm going to call and call it other you know, I just don't believe in this, let it play thing. But you're right. As a coach, that's what you gotta tell your kids, you know, he's, he's letting everybody play.

So you got to go out and play. But I think the number one job of the official is to keep everybody safe. And so if they're not doing that, they're not doing a good job.

Phil:[00:35:27] Absolutely. Totally agree with that. Totally agree with that. That's why I said, I'd never tell my players go play cheap, but play harder.

The other thing though, is in the soccer. I don't know if there's an equivalent in field hockey, but in soccer, we have the penalty area with the penalty shot and what's really frustrating there too. And I know I'm preaching to the choir if there's coaches out there and players, when the referee seems to have a different rule book in the box with penalty shot versus.

Out in the field. If the same thing happens in the box, they won't call it because they don't want to call a penalty shot. that's really frustrating as well. [00:36:00] But again, consistency, consistency is the key. And I think that's thing we can learn as leaders too, is when we have rules, when we have different things that we have shared with our people, we need to be consistent in our application of them.

And if we're consistent, very few people will have complaints about it. If we're not consistent and we're treating some people better than others or we're treating some people, in a way that, seems like we're favoring them, that tends to lead to a lot of dysfunction and conflict. So, I mean, have you seen that in your different areas?

Del:[00:36:29] Yeah, no. I agree. And field hockey does have a box as well and if there's fouls inside this box area, they actually have. what they call a corner where it's blown and all of a sudden, it's, kinda like a power play in ice hockey where there's more people are allowed around the goal on the offense and on defense.

So it's actually kind of an advantage. If, if the defense foul somebody that's trying to score you can have a penalty shot. If it's a, they actually they're shooting a goal, but just even the foul in the box, there's a more of a severe penalty than there would be [00:37:00] outside. And if it's, I'm sure it's like soccer, that things that are called kind of midfield.

If you blow a call out there, it's not nearly as crucial as if when you start blowing calls, when it's close to the goal. and the official feels that too, all of a sudden, you get a little sweaty palms and stuff. when as close to the goal, because that's when the calls really matter.

If you like miss went out on the 50 yard line or something like, you know, and you missed it, you missed it. It didn't really affect the game. But that's the way field hockey is. It is a lot of pressure in field hockey and one official, I mean, there's two officials on the field and field hockey and only the lead is supposed to call stuff that's in this box, but they've moved to radios.

So that the other official, even though they're not supposed to make the calls. They can tell them the official in their ear, this is what, you know, bring it out, bring it out. I just saw a foul, you know? So now you have two sets of eyes because when everybody, you know, you got most, most of the team is now in a concise area when it's near the goal.

And it's just impossible [00:38:00] to see everything at that point. So it really helps to have two sets of eyes. I don't know. I don't know if soccer has moved to a radio system or not, but they really like it. And field hockey.

Phil:[00:38:08] In the professional ranks, they have the, headphones and the microphone with the assistant referees with the, the center ref.

And I believe in college, they do as well. And sometimes you see it in the youth ranks, but it's not very, common in the youth ranks, but you do have the flag to be able to wave the flag as the assistant referee to help the center. And it is a team, you know, again, I think we can learn a lot about teamwork from referees that are working well together.

And I think we see that at the professional ranks and now with the VAR, with the virtual assistant referee as well, all of them are working together in that regard. And yeah, they're, they're talking chirping in each other's ears talking about different things. Most of it, we don't see which again, going back to that authority and that, that idea of, you don't want to have a power trip and referee, you know, the idea is it's not about you referee.

The game is not about you. People did not pay to come and see the referee blow a whistle. Hopefully [00:39:00] ideally you come and you go and you weren't really seen very much. And that's, that's the hope of a referee, as you said, keep them safe, make sure the rules are followed. Make sure it's a game that is a solid, great game and referees will help the flow of it.

And that's the that's hopefully what will happen in these games. One more, one more thing about this, this idea. And then I do want to kind of go into a speed round a little bit with your, some of the quotes from advice from the top that I absolutely loved. But the last thing I want to just touch on here is the idea of, the old saying that my mom has said to me many, many times, which is, you get more flies with honey.

And to be able to understand that we are going to I think it's flies with honey. Maybe I got the saying wrong. But the idea of how you treat the authority, figure how you treat the referee, you know, you're going to get more out of them if you treat them better, typically now, again, they're going to apply the rules as they apply the rules.

But unfortunately, when it is a subconscious thing in us as human beings, when [00:40:00] someone's yelling in our ear all the time, we're not going to want to do them any favors. So I know that as a referee, we will always say, we don't have favorites and we don't do this. We don't do that. But you've even talked about coaches can quote, ask a question.

I think we talked about that a little bit before the game. Just cause you think that actually has some impact on them. Can you talk a little bit about that? And then the idea of, how you treat the authority figure will often, you know, it might make the difference in a 50 50 call.

Del:[00:40:26] Yeah. Again, I think it's, cordial, this more than, slapping on before the game.

You don't go around slapping them on the back that actually turns me off. I don't know if it does. I think some, some officials probably like it, but I found that the nicer somebody is, it is kind of overly nice like that at the beginning of the game, they're the ones that, they're the first ones that are gonna really object to a call  I think they almost think that they're getting you on their side or something, but on the cordial side, that is totally, totally right.

If you're professional and you're asking intelligent questions there's nothing better than to have a [00:41:00] coach come out, ask me an intelligent question. And I've had coaches actually ask questions. Like they don't, they're like coaches they're actually know the rules and they're like really intelligent coaches, but I I've had them ask me questions that.

That they know the answer to, but they pretend that they don't know the answer to just to get a feel for how good you are, how well, you know, the rules. I don't know if that's done in soccer since it's kind of a game in motion, but in softball when I'm on the bases, I've had a lot of coaches come out and say, can you describe what the, obstruction rule is?

And the obstruction rule is basically, if a defending player doesn't have the ball, they can't be in the way of the runner.  and so they'll ask me that because they want to know, because the rule is that if somebody obstructs a runner, the runner is now free to run it without being able to be put out, there are put out, they can be moved back to the other base, but they're now protected.

Between the bases it helps the coach to know that the umpire knows that rule so that if they send the runner to second, and they're going to get thrown out that the, [00:42:00] they want to know that the umpire knows that they can't be thrown out. So I've had coaches do that. And I know enough, sometimes they maybe they don't know the rule, but a lot of times I think that they do know the rule and I I don't have any objection to that for them quizzing you.

and I love it when coaches come, you know, I've had coaches that I've see quite a bit and everything that they come out to argue about makes sense. I mean, it's something about a rule. You know, it's a, it could be a judgment call, but they think I had the bad angle and maybe, and they know when you can go to your partner and, you know, there's certain situations where umpires can go to their partner and that kind of thing for but there's some that, that aren't like.

if there's like a base umpire that calls a close steal at second base out you don't go to your plate umpire who is like a hundred feet away and ask them if he got a wrong, because if they reverse your call now you've got the other coach coming out and saying, well, what the heck?

You know, you just had an empire, a hundred feet away, make the call that you had your nose on down here, you know, so good coaches know when they [00:43:00] can go for help. And there's other situations where it makes sense to go for help. And so, it really helps to learn what officials are doing and, when you can kind of, ask them to get help and that kind of thing, a good coaches, if they know that it's an advantage because I've had calls that if my partner had come for help, I would've told him he got it wrong.

And it was a perfect situation where a coach could have gone and asked the umpire but they didn't. And so the call stood because I'm not going to go out there and reverse this call until it comes from me for help. It comes from me for help. I'm gonna tell them, you know, I, you know, this is what I saw.

I think he got it wrong. and I don't tell him that unless I'm sure. So they'll almost always get reversed. The umpire will reverse it. A good umpire is going to reverse it because they know your partner's not going to tell you that unless they're sure of it. And so, I think understanding officiating,  I would advise teams to actually I can in soccer I would have them bring in a good official just to give a talk to him sometime, just get the team around for 15 or 20 minutes and ask an official to [00:44:00] come in and describe, what he's seeing and that kind of thing.

So everybody can understand his point of view.  I've never been asked that, but there's all kinds of pointers I could give in the sports I do. I could give teams what they could do to actually give them a, a bit of an advantage in the game. If they understand how the game is officiated.

Phil:[00:44:18] Absolutely. And I think I've recommended coaches to referee themselves. I mean, I referee I actually really enjoy refereeing probably because of my legal background, but I don't know, but I enjoy it because again, I love helping people to flourish. I think referees can help the game to flourish, can help the game to be smoother and go facilitate the, the best out of both teams by refereeing.

Well, but I think a referee can also serve the opposite purpose too, and a game if they're, if they aren't. but I think coaches gain a different respect doesn't mean I've never yelled at a referee before. As a coach, people listening and know me know that I have. And I, I try to apologize afterwards, if I do that in a way that I feel is [00:45:00] inappropriate, But I, think that you have that, what you just talked about there. I totally agree. It's a, it's a respect. It's not a, a kind of a butt kissing thing. It's a respect. You show respect. As you said, cordial courteous. You just show a respect for the referee that you understand their role. You understand what they're doing?

You understand that it's not the easiest thing in the world to go out there and, and see everything and have everything perfect. You're not going to be perfect. And so I think it's just that, that respect into respect the authority. I think that's a great life lesson, right? You don't go up to policemen and yell at them because they missed crime down the street.

Right. I mean, you just don't do that. It's just not right. But yet, for whatever reason, we feel like that's, that's okay to do, to a referee.

Del:[00:45:45] Yeah. I, I would advise coaches losing coaches if they thought the referee did a good game. To compliment them. Referees are always getting complimented by the team that won, they're leaving the field, the team that wants it's great, great game, great game [00:46:00] referee.

But you never get that from the losing coach and understandably, but it means, when you do get it, it means a heck of a lot more when the losing coach comes up to you and says you did a good job. And if you're ever on the losing end of a game and you do, you know, I wouldn't like invent a compliment, but if you did think that the referee did a good job, I would let them know from the losing end.

Phil:[00:46:20] All right. Well, we're going to switch gears here a bit. we're getting close to the end of this interview and I just, I can't recommend highly enough. It really, really is a collection of quotes. It's, you know, Del does not go into all these quotes, but this book advice from the top that Del was able to pull together all these quotes from these, different leaders.

They're not all CEOs, they're not all, organizational presidents or things like that. Some are, you recognize Ronnie Lott who played for the 49ers, Steve Young who played for the 49ers. It's not limited to 49ers, Larry Brown NBA dream team coach, Mike Eruzione, you’ll know that if you watch the movie [00:47:00] Miracle, or if you watch the Miracle on Ice back in the 1980s or 1980 Olympic hockey team.

So there's all kinds of amazing quotes from these leaders and it is just bite sized nuggets. And I cannot recommend it more for any leader to grab this because you'll learn so many different things, but I just want to give a couple here to give you a taste, give you an idea. The book starts out with this Joe Moglia, former TD Ameritrade CEO, Head Football Coach of Coastal Carolina university.

He has this foreword that he writes and in there he has these X's and O's, you know, that that basically the idea of what the football lessons that also apply to business. And he obviously is a football coach and was CEO of a pretty big company. Can you just run through those and just any thoughts you have on it? Maybe some commentary, because we weren't privy to your commentary that was in your head in that book.

Del:[00:47:48] Joe Moglia is a great guy.

He became rich as the CEO of TD Ameritrade. And so now and I think he'd coached early in his younger days and then he always loved it. And so now he's [00:48:00] rich and go to do it, go do anything he wants to. And he went out and coached football, Eastern Carolina, I think he's left there now, but yeah, he's I had him write the foreword for my book because he's so good.

I think he basically one of the points he made is that you gotta get your talent in the right places. And he talked about business and football. Yeah. If you've got like these brilliant people in business that aren't doing the right job, but what good does it do?

And I think that's one of the points he made.

Phil:[00:48:28] It's just like Jim Collins talked about, get the people on the right people on the bus, but you gotta make sure the people are in the right seats on the bus too. Just cause you have the right players on the team, if you put them in the wrong positions, I think football, American football is a good example of that you know. If you have the offensive lineman playing quarterback, it might not be the best thing for the team.

If you have in soccer, if you have a center back playing striker, it may work, but it may. And it likely won't because there are different skill sets that go into those different positions and in same thing in, in any job, in any [00:49:00] organization, different skill sets, different personalities, different. Education backgrounds, different expertise, different everything, go into who we are and integrity, character.

All those things should be critical components to anything in an organization. So if we don't have the right people in the right seats, if you don't have your people in the right positions, that's absolutely right there. One of the other, the other things he talked about, know the odds of success and the consequences of failure when taking a risk.

So, you know, weigh all the pros and cons weigh the cost benefit analysis. Right. And that goes into admin talking. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. But think about it in soccer, whether you make that pass and football, whether you make that, that pass through the two corner and the safety coming together.

And can you make it through there or not? Right. What's the, what's the risk is, is the last second of the game or is it. First quarter, right? All those things go into it and same thing in business. So those are a couple of things from Joe, but one other thing that I wanted to talk about, we're talking about going cross discipline here.

So now we're actually going outside the world of sport here, but it was one of the [00:50:00] coolest quotes. And there was a great book. It's not written by this. This guy was a Max Dupree, wrote a book called Leadership Jazz. And this quote comes from Wynton Marsalis he's trumpeter composer, band leader.

He, this guy's amazing if you haven't heard his jazz music you're missing out. But he talked about the leadership lessons of jazz. And he said, when people trust each other, they work for the common good. They are in sync and prepared for anything. And that's something I wanted to point out here.

And again, there's so many other things in this book, but we don't have time to go into all of them, and I'll put some other quotes in the show notes just for your viewing pleasure, but This quote, the one thing about it that I loved was just this idea of trust. And I think it goes to refereeing.

I think it goes to sports of any kind, any team that you're a part of. If we don't have trust, we're not going to be able to do most things. would you agree with that? And how do you see that playing out?

Del:[00:50:54] Yeah. The worst thing I think you can do as an athlete, as a team sport is finger [00:51:00] pointing.

I mean, it's like when they're playing jazz, I don't know much about music, but when they're playing jazz, I'm sure people make mistakes. Just like people make mistakes out on the field of a team sport. But when they're in sync, when they're playing as a jazz ensemble, those mistakes get covered up really fast.

And, I think you could probably see a team that has this, when you do see a lot of mistakes out there. And yet, for some reason, those mistakes aren't hurting them that bad. They're still in the game. You know, they may be blowing the opponent out if they weren't making the mistakes. And you know, a lot of this there's the guy in named Dan Lyons who was an Olympic rower in the book.

And he, he had kind of the same philosophy. you gotta test things just like you do in a jazz band and a soccer team. You know, a coach can kind of like say, well, this needs to be my striker. This needs to be my center fielder and all this stuff. but unless you test it and they, they do something in rowing called seat racing where they'll have two boats racing each other and they'll move just [00:52:00] one rower from one boat, they'll switch like one rower on each boat.

And maybe, the coach will think, well, this is the stronger rower that I'm moving to this boat. This boat's going to be faster now, but for some reason the chemistry is right when you put somebody in there and you never know what the chemistry is going to be, you know, just on paper, this looks like he's gotta be playing striker on paper.

He's just like perfect at it. But until you like test him with other people you sub in different people, you use different teams. The whole team comes together sometimes in, in ways you just wouldn't expect. If you weren't testing it.

Phil:[00:52:33] Absolutely. And sometimes that great player doesn't perform in a certain team because they're just, they don't click with the other players or they don't like somebody else or they don't trust.

I mean, again, going back to trust, With the rowers, they got to trust each other, they got to trust their coxswain and who's up front, just, you know, stroke stroke. You gotta trust that they're doing it right. You've got to trust when they're taking up the tempo. I pretend like I know a lot about rowing.

Cause I read Boys in the Boat, which was a phenomenal book by the way.  something I strongly [00:53:00] recommend, but that I love that idea there. And that, thing that you put these different people in and the different chemistry, but the only way you do that is by testing. The only way you do that is by, trial and error sometimes, you know?

and I look at refereeing bringing it back to refereeing with trust. I mean, you have to man system and field hockey, three men system. in soccer, if you don't trust your, assistant referee in soccer and they put up the flag for offsides, You're just not going to call it because you don't trust them.

If you don't trust them, it doesn't work. Right. You have two referees and the one doesn't trust the other basketball, three referees, whatever. And they're blowing the whistle all the time, even though they don't have the best angle and they're not closest to it. That's going to look really bad and it's usually going to be wrong a lot of the time.

And so without that trust, you could see mistakes happen. You see conflict happen, you see all kinds of problems happening. So

Del:[00:53:43] take them, but in basketball is real as a really good point because. All three, you know, if you have a three man crew out there doing basketball, they can't all be like watching the guy with the ball.

And if you don't trust each other, you've got to trust the guy whose responsibility is on the ball. And [00:54:00] then the other officials have to be looking off ball. Because that's where all the crud is going to go on. And if everybody's watching the ball, so the trust is, you know, you've got your assignment and you got to trust that they're watching this area because the other officials will watching that area.

I don't know if in soccer, it seems like there's like one primary official that. Kind of has to watch everything if I got soccer. Right. And it seems like that would create a lot of off ball problems. Because if a referee has to watch ball, it's really hard to see off ball stuff.

Phil:[00:54:30] Well, that's where the assistant referees come into play. The, center referee is calling everything, but the linesmen or the assistant referees can raise their flag and shake their flag. Basically if there's, if there's something off ball that they see, but a lot of stuff doesn't get seen, you know?

Cause you can't see everything. But again, going back to perspective and angle, we talked about that earlier, but yeah, if that assistant sees it, they call it. And again though, it's trust because the center needs to trust them to be able to see it. But now with, obviously with the virtual assistant, they can see all that on video.

[00:55:00] If it's on, if the camera catches it, which it usually does. Again, we could talk for many, many hours about all these different quotes, but unfortunately we're coming to the end of this interview, but I have a couple more questions that I ask our guests on this show. And the first is how do you use lessons?

You've learned directly from the wide world of sports as I want to call it with you, because you do have a, broad spectrum of sports that you are a fan of and a referee of have you used those lessons you've learned directly from the games in your family and other areas of life outside the game?

Del:[00:55:29] Yeah, I think I touched on that before. That kind of the main thing is to worry about what you can control. I think people who worry a lot about things that are out of their control, you know, just spin their wheels a lot. And you can get a lot more done. If you think about the things you can change and then the rest of it is like what I said, the sun's in your eyes.


Phil:[00:55:50] That's that is, that's so important if we all did that, I think we'd be a lot more content.

Del:[00:55:55] Yeah. It's not easy. Yeah. But valuable things that you [00:56:00] usually aren't easy.

Phil:[00:56:00] Absolutely. That's very true. If they were then we'd again, we'd have a lot simpler and I think probably more unified world too, but that's a whole different conversation for a different day.

But the last question, what have you watched read or listened to recently that has impacted your thinking on how sports and the different things that we love explain life and leadership.

Del:[00:56:20] You know, one thing, what I do know of soccer, it seems to me like it and in life, it seems to me like it's a lot like football in that if a team takes a lead, all of a sudden they're playing defensively, trying to run out the clock.

And I don't know how many times I've watched teams lose especially team and soccer, especially I can see if it's a well-balanced game and one team takes a one to nothing lead or something. And, it's been pretty balanced. But if, a team has been kind of dominating the game, but can only take a one to nothing lead.

And then now is like sagging back to protect I don't know to me, that's just playing scared and I have to just think it [00:57:00] backfires. And I think that's kind of true in life as well. You, you kinda like figure out what, what works and then you go with it. And you don't play scared. When, when the guys I interviewed in the book is the micron technology, COO Steve Appleton.

And he always said that, he doesn't understand why all the 18 year olds are taking all the risks and all the 60 year olds are playing it safe. He says like, I've lived my life now. Now I can go ahead and take risks. And and he actually died in he was a stunt pilot, and he actually died in a plane wreck.

So he, after he gave me that quote, he kind of fulfilled it. But I thought that was interesting that people get more careful as they get older. And here you got an 18 year old with their whole life to live in there. And they're not careful. It seems like, it seems like it's backward in some way.

Phil:[00:57:44] Yeah. That's something that I get frustrated every time I'm watching my team play. Whether it's my, the team I'm coaching or my team Manchester United or, another team that I want to win and they go up 1-0 and yeah, they start completely just as they say, [00:58:00] parking the bus, Just sitting back or the, defense that you just go and you play deep.

it never seems to, I mean, sometimes it works, but usually I think more often than not, you either give up a goal or you give up a touchdown, a prevent defense. I was blanking on the name of it. Right. But the prevent right. Prevent, prevent you from winning usually is what we used to say.

and I think that there are, there are ways to. Be safer while still being able to play your game and be able to do what you're supposed to be doing. But I think there's so many parallels with life on that. I absolutely agree with the idea of, if you don't take the risk, you know, no risk, no reward.

Right. We hear that a lot, but I think that's in life just with good things. You know, one of my favorite quotes and I'm probably gonna butcher it, but the way I say it is, you know, any great thing is just on the other side of comfortable. And I think that that is something that we forget a lot of the times, because we're just like, wow, we just got to, you know, hunker down and do whatever.

And I just say, you know, look, [00:59:00] if you don't take that chance, if you don't take that risk, then you're likely not going to experience what you're supposed to experience in that. So,

Del:[00:59:08] and if you fail you, if you fail, you've learned something that you can use elsewhere. I mean, all fail. Anybody that's been successful, tell you that they failed a lot.

That's right.

Phil:[00:59:17] I think John Maxwell has his success cycle and it's the second thing is failure. You know, you have an idea and you're going to fail and that's where you learn. You know, if you don't learn then the failures for nothing, but if you learn then the failure is extremely productive. As we say, that's what I told my son, he went snowboarding for the first time, a couple of weeks ago and he said, if you're not falling, you're not trying.

I mean, that's the reality. well, Thanks so much Del. I've loved getting to know you a little bit, both through our conversations, as well as through your books. In folks out there, I've again, strongly recommend Advice from the Top;At the Bat: The Strikeout that Shamed America. And I can only recommend those personally because I've read them both.

I'm sure your other book is fantastic. And [01:00:00] if you want to go back and look up all the articles you wrote for USA today, you'll have a lot of reading in front of you, but I think that for now, I just want to thank you for being on the show. Thank you for all the wisdom that you're able to share with us.


Del:[01:00:13] you, Phil. I enjoyed it.

Phil:[01:00:15] Well folks again, thank you for the download. Thank you for being part of how soccer explains leadership. Very much appreciate you couldn't do this without you. And again, if you like what you're hearing, if you liked the show, go ahead and hit that subscribe button, wherever you are listening to this.

And you can, then you won't miss any of the future episodes that we have with great interviews. Like this one, we were just able to have with Dell. So most importantly, what we want to make sure of is that you are learning from this show and that hopefully you're taking everything that you're learning and you're using it to be a better leader.

You're using it to help you to understand how the beautiful game explains life and leadership. Thanks a lot. Have a great week.